Epidemiological evaluation of concordance between initial diagnosis and central pathology review in a comprehensive and prospective series of sarcoma patients in the Rhone-Alpes region

BMC Cancer. 2010 Apr 19;10:150. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-10-150.


Background: Sarcomas are rare malignant tumors. Accurate initial histological diagnosis is essential for adequate management. We prospectively assessed the medical management of all patients diagnosed with sarcoma in a European region over a one-year period to identify the quantity of first diagnosis compared to central expert review (CER).

Methods: Histological data of all patients diagnosed with sarcoma in Rhone-Alpes between March 2005 and Feb 2006 were collected. Primary diagnoses were systematically compared with second opinion from regional and national experts.

Results: Of 448 patients included, 366 (82%) matched the inclusion criteria and were analyzed. Of these, 199 (54%) had full concordance between primary diagnosis and second opinion (the first pathologist and the expert reached identical conclusions), 97 (27%) had partial concordance (identical diagnosis of conjonctive tumor but different grade or subtype), and 70 (19%) had complete discordance (different histological type or invalidation of the diagnosis of sarcoma). The major discrepancies were related to histological grade (n = 68, 19%), histological type (n = 39, 11%), subtype (n = 17, 5%), and grade plus subtype or grade plus histological type (n = 43, 12%).

Conclusions: Over 45% of first histological diagnoses were modified at second reading, possibly resulting in different treatment decisions. Systematic second expert opinion improves the quality of diagnosis and possibly the management of patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sarcoma / diagnosis
  • Sarcoma / epidemiology*
  • Sarcoma / pathology*
  • Young Adult